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Emptying the Notebook: On Beckham, Carver, Exantus, Anelka and more


So it’s the day after the Los Angeles Galaxy’s awful 3-1 loss to Chicago on Thursday and you’re probably wondering where the Galaxy will go from here. I can tell you where at least one of their players is.

None other than David Beckham is in New York City today along with wife Victoria to promote their fragrance lines. I’m not sure what the name of David’s cologne is but Eau De No Playoffs has a nice ring to it.

As will hopefully become a weekly or bi-weekly routine, I will look to touch on subjects at the end of the week that I haven’t been able to get around to during the week. Whether they are unused quotes, tidbits of information I’ve stumbled on but haven’t gotten around to, or just stories that didn’t make it onto the site this week, I will try to throw it all in here.

So let’s take a look at some information that should be of interest:

LA Galaxy fans asking themselves how their season rested on the shaky hands of goalkeeper Josh Wicks should know that Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was feverishly trying to acquire a goalkeeper before the roster freeze date. Free agent Matt Pickens and Colorado Rapids back-up Bouna Coundoul were both on the radar but neither deal materialized.

There are rumors circulating that Toronto FC has reached an agreement on a contract extension with embattled head coach John Carver. The word I’m getting is that no such agreement has been reached and both sides may be wary of committing at this point. Carver has strong ties to Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, who has long been linked to eventually becoming the club’s head coach. When Newcastle is sold, and if Shearer joins Kevin Keegan’s staff (as is being rumored), you could see Carver making a move. If Shearer becomes head coach outright, you could bet a pretty pound that Carver would bolt back to Newcastle.

You may have heard Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka in a recent interview said that he would consider coming to MLS. You shouldn’t rule out the New York Red Bulls. Why? Anelka developed a very good relationship with Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio when both were at Manchester City (I saw this first-hand during a visit to Manchester back in 2003. While Thierry Henry is obviously at the top of the Red Bulls’ wish-list for its vacant Designated Player slot in 2009, Anelka just might wind up being a back-up plan.

None other than MLS commissioner Don Garber reached out to Red Bulls youth prospect Johnny Exantus about Exantus’ potential move to Belgium. According to Exantus’ guardian, Jules Gama, Garber spoke to Exantus back in 2006 when the young prospect was first identified as a potential New York signing, and reached out again to discourage Exantus from leaving the United States.

Wonder who the next Exantus might be in the Red Bulls system? remember the name Saint Cyr Widner. The former Haitian Under-17 national team player was impressive in Red Bulls training earlier this week. As a playmaking midfielder playing against Red Bulls first-teamers, Widner set up recent Red Bulls signing Sainey Tourey on at least two goals that I saw.

Wondering how former D.C. United draft pick Andrew Jacobson is doing with French club Lorient? Well, he’s not in France now. Jacobson is actually in Brazil with the U.S. national Futsal team at the Futsal World Cup. Yes, he is still under contract with Lorient, but was granted a release for the tournament.

That’s all for now. Share your thoughts on any of these notes in the comments section below.


  1. -Why should Johnny X listen to Garber? Did Garber give him advice on how to budget his future 17k MLS salary?

    -Good for Beckham to hawk his and hers fragrances. Heaven knows, he of all people need the additional income in light of the sinking economy.

  2. Does anybody think that The Ultimate Team Player and his wife would be hawking perfume if the Galaxy were in serious playoff contention?

    Is the Pope an atheist? Does Don Garber need a toupee?

    Regarding the Galaxy acquiring a quality goalkeeper, whom or what does the Galaxy have left to trade of any value, outside of Donovan, Beckham and Buddle? And why would anybody want to do business w/the Galaxy in the first place? I would think that most of the MLS execs would love to see the Galaxy fail, after all that bluster about being the “jewel of MLS” and a “superclub” and all that rot….

    Thank you, Alexi Lalas, for three years of utter rubbish. May you never grace the Home Depot Center again, except to clean out the toilets….

    Thank you, Tim Leiweke, for allowing control to pass into idiots like Lalas and 19 Entertainment (who hired Gullit). Galaxy and L.A. Kings’ fans will be throwing a “necktie” party for you in Pershing Square after the season….

  3. Ives: I’m a long-time reader, first-time poster. Love the site.

    What has Keegan won? Let’s see:

    Newcastle United: 1992-93 First Division champions (1993-94 3rd in Premier League, 1994-95 led the League, 1995-96 runners-up)

    Fulham: 1998-99 Division 2 champions

    Manchester City: 2001-02 First Division champions

    Keegan left NUFC because Dennis Wise was bringing in players Keegan didn’t want, wouldn’t bring in players Keegan needed (we’re still stuck with a pitifully thin squad) and sold/offered to sell players behind Keegan’s back (James Milner). He didn’t walk out because he couldn’t handle the job. (He did with England, I’ll admit.)

    I’m really getting sick of the Kevin Keegan/Newcastle United/Geordie bashing. The sooner Keegan comes back, the better.

    (And Shearer needs to do like Paul Ince and Roy Keane did and manage a small team first to get experience before even thinking about trying to manage NUFC.)

  4. of course, if he DID make those comments, considering his track record, who would really believe him? Perhaps only those who already hate the MLS. Still I agree, I don’t see much in him that I WANT to take a chance on him. But who knows. Look at Cuahetemoc Blanco. People thought he would be a disaster. (I am not equating their work rates . . . only their perceived anti-social aspects, and the fact that many pundits thought Blanco would be a horrible move for MLS, PR-wise.)

  5. Anelka, at this juncture, would be disastrous in MLS. He’s never shown a shred of tact publicly and always speaks his mind, which is why he’s anathema to half the teams in Europe.

    Can you imagine how he’d react after a mid-season game of the current calibre in the league? Eek. Wouldn’t want to be MLS in that article. Again. And again. And again.

    It would be a PR disaster for MLS to sign Anelka.

  6. Hi have to concur with kpugs about Anelka’s maturity and laziness. I really don’t know Niko, of course, and all my info is from the press over the years . . . but that was my first thought when Ives wrote about the possibility of his coming to NJRB (ahem!).

    Kind of reminds me of the Lothar debacle. I really lost a lot of respect for him.

    Einmal Loewe, immer Loewe!

  7. I don’t know if you just mean trophies KingSnake, but Keegan did manage Newcastle to promotion to the Premier League in 1993 and the following year they finished third and had UEFA Cup participation. So definitely success

  8. Ives,

    Please don’t change the format of your site too much. I love that it’s simple and to the point. I prefer coming here to read your articles rather than ESPNsoccernet.


  9. Nah, you can retool all you want, but naysayers always find something to bitch about. Some of the best writers online are bloggers, so people who use it to denigrate are mostly just ignorant. I write for a paper that’s in tabloid format, and long gave up on people who assume that you’re defined either by the medium or the general direction of a paper.

    I’d say most of the people who have print jobs these days are middling writers at best and lousy reporters, because of the lack of interest among the industry’s owners in keeping up quality. It ain’t what it used to be.

  10. Thanks Jloome, I know you didn’t mean anything by it. I responded the way I did because there is a definite practice of using terms such as blogger and blog to either discredit or minimize the legitimacy of this site. I know that’s something I have to deal with until I re-design the site and move away from the blog format (which is coming), but it’s still frustrating at times.

  11. Hahaha, it’s nothing personal dude, you use typepad, a blog format, as a base. That’s all. Don’t assume I somehow judge working outside mainstream media to be in some way inferior; the best writers in the world have always ended up freelancing, after all.

    It’s a nice way of being able to say I like you guys for different reasons.

    Plus, a beat writer, to me, generally signifies focussed coverage, and that reflects what Steve does, which is cover a team in his city. I think you’re a soccer writer who uses a blog format. If you prefer the former to the latter, that’s groovy.

    I suppose you’re also a beat writer, given that you sorta specialize still in the Red Bulls. But I’d venture most of your readers see you more as a sport-wide kinda guy.

  12. Goff is good but covers nothing but DCU (which is fine, thats his team and territory). Im not particularly worried about format (unless its a flyer). I stand by my previous statement. This is not meant to sound sycophantic btw, HA.

  13. Man, Ives, people sure do pick on you!

    I think you’re a bonafide writer. I’m one of those that read this site and can differentiate between the hard news and the tidbits of interesting information.

  14. “And what exactly don’t I do that a beat writer does?”

    The smart-ass in me wants to say “draw a regular paycheck from a regular organization on a regular basis” but as fantastic as this blog has been, and as huge as the audience has grown, I’ve no doubt you’re paying your bills just fine thankmeverymuch. 🙂

  15. Jloome, help me out here. What exactly is a “blogger”? And what exactly don’t I do that a beat writer does? I consider myself a soccer writer and columnist. I was a beat writer, but now consider myself a national writer. That said, I feel like I still do more to cover the Red Bulls than the beat writers of many other MLS teams.

    I have nothing against bloggers. I just don’t think that label is totally accurate in defining or describing what I do.

  16. Ives,

    Thanks for a busy week on your end. Was wondering if you ever posted the interviews you did with Kanji on the site?



  17. Brant: “Keegan can coach; no one knows if Shearer can. One thing’s for sure, though – a proud club like Newcastle will *never* wash their hands of their former stars.”

    And *that* is precisely why they have not won anything in living memory.

    Btw, what has Keegan won?

  18. Keegan walked out b/c Ashley said he wouldn’t dump more money into the club. The last game before Keegan walked, he had 14 healthy senior players and was suiting up academy players to fill out the bench.

    Keegan can coach; no one knows if Shearer can. One thing’s for sure, though – a proud club like Newcastle will *never* wash their hands of their former stars. Not gonna happen. Yes it’s been a long time since they won a trophy (unless you count the Intertoto Cup a few years back), but outside of the Big 4 and the random Portsmouth/Tottenham interloper (not exactly small clubs themselves) who else has been winning trophies? Man City? Fulham? Bolton? Wigan?

    And don’t forget, the last really surprising winner of the EPL was…




    .wait for it…






    Alan Shearer’s ’94-’95 Blackburn team.

    The lads in the Northeast will be alright once they stabilize their lineups on and off the pitch.

  19. Apples and Oranges, Oss. Goff’s the top beat writer, Galarcep’s the top blogger.

    As the ‘friend in question’ I was reacting to RPBs on their forum treating your (oddly handicapped) spec as if it were a news story, not what you said. Although I still need to relax, for entirely unrelated reasons.

    And how much can I lay down on that 7-1, Ives?

  20. Ives-


    Fair enough. Noones up in arms, simply disputing the speculation from all points as it makes for interesting/emotional conversation. I really dont see what TFC/MLSE would gain from not resigning Carver, unless they happened to have a bigger more experienced coach lined up. I am concerned too because there are several quotes in the last few weeks that do leave him open and looking the better man/upperhand, should he leave. (Quotes include the likes of “If we dont sign a DP, ill leave” “If we dont play up to par in the next 5 games, Ill leave” etc etc, this of course is all paraphrasing.

  21. The best thing any new owner of Newcastle could do would be to completely wash his hands of Keegan, Shearer, and anyone else with any say or pull in the current setup. Maybe in a few years they can be brought back for a pre-match wave, or the like, but as long as they are around, now, they are an anchor around the club’s neck. The Magpies need a *complete* overhaul to ever overcome their current … err, 50-year long … malaise …

  22. Ossington, I don’t think I ever said the Carver-Newcastle link was anything more than my own speculation on what might happen. I don’t recall ever saying “Sources have told me” or “SBI is reporting.” Tell your friend on the other board to relax.

    What I will stand by is the fact that Carver has nothing tying him to TFC for 2009 yet. No contract extension, no option picked up. So people shouldn’t assume he’s coming back in 2009. Assuming such things about a professional soccer coach seems far more absurd than my Carver-Newcastle tie.

  23. Well, Anelka has definitely matured. However, he was so self-centered and immature he actually has way more maturing to do to actually BE mature.

    He seems like exactly the type of guy to revert to laziness and lack of effort at his MLS retirement home…only to realize the league is way too fast for him to be half-a**ed.

  24. As quoted by a fellow TFC supporter in forum, he does bring up some good points btw Ives, just playing devils advocate of course

    “This thread is beyond rumours or conjecture and into the realm of ridiculous.

    First of all, Keegan just walked out. Yes, the fans love him. But if you don’t think a new owner is going to be worried after his THIRD walkout (City, England, then Newcastle) after TWICE saying he wants to get out of football completely, you’re not thinking like a businessman.

    Secondly, Carver’s boss at Newcastle was Gullit, then Bobby Robson. Neither is there now; third, why anyone thinks Alan Shearer would come on board as Keegan’s assistant having just turned down the exact same job a few months ago is also puzzling, and without that connection, there’s no Carver.

    Fourth, Carver is unlikely, a decade into coaching, to give up a job in charge of a team in favour of going back to coaching technique as a field boss to spoiled premiership stars.

    I’m gonna email Ives and take him up on that 7-1, as it should be 1-7, at best.”

  25. Matt-

    theres been alot of speculation that the new nigerian owners of Newcastle will bring back Keegan (and possibly Shearer) once they officially own the club. Kinnear is just a temporary coach until then… Sadly.

  26. Matt, in case you missed it, Keegan is a good bet to return to the Newcastle job once new owners take over. I’ve definitely posted about that this week. The new hire is just a fill-in until the sale goes through. Can you say Lame Duck?

  27. Anelka will probably end up in New York. A few weeks ago, he was quoted in an interview in L’Equipe (French Sports daily) that he would not be finishing his career in France. Earlier in the year speculation was on whether or not he’d end his career at PSG. He’s a product of the PSG youth system and was stolen from us by future PSG president – Arsene Wenger. Niko is a huge PSG fan. Since he’s not coming back to us he did mention that he would like to finish his career in America or if not here then somewhere in the mideast – I think Qatar – can’t remember. I expect him to finish his career in NY.


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